Shopping for a dress — with reinforcements

It’s prom dress shopping time again. Any type of shopping with a teenager is difficult, but prom dress shopping can be particularly explosive.

So when I was lamenting to my BFF Donna that the search would begin in February, she had a great idea. In her infinite wisdom — and past experience — she understood that taking your daughter on this type of expedition can prove fatal for one or both parties. So in order to protect myself — and keep Bri alive to actually enjoy the prom — she volunteered to act as intermediary to protect us both.

Now, Donna is no fool, so she volunteered her hip and trendy daughter Janine — about 10 years Bri’s senior — to join us in the battle. Because Janine is closer to Bri’s age, her input would be invaluable.

And it was.

We began bright and early (for teenage terms) on Saturday, 12:30 pm. We headed over the Goethals Bridge to the Jersey Gardens without too much difficulty and entered the world of outlet haven. Janine picked up the map and plotted the day’s course. We hit the first store and Bri’s eyes lit up like a flash cube.

The store featured row upon row of every sort of evening dress imaginable. It had every color, size, style, long — short and tea-length. It was like being in the garment district. As Janine traipsed through the selections, collecting, offering advice, finding sizes, taking front, side and rearview pixs (for later review) and generally keeping Bri up to her eyeballs in evening attire, Donna and I sat back and enjoyed the show.

The first store yielded two “maybes” but no “definites.” So it was onward to store number two which was — could you believe it! — bigger and better than store number one. There were thousands of choices, but, alas, no “definites.”

We were now about three hours into the shopping “spree,” and the genius of my decision to bring friends along was now coming to light. Had I been alone with Bri, by this point they would have had to call security. But thanks to the presence of Janine and Donna — my two shopping angels — that drama was averted.

In fact, the day was so relaxing that I was able to complete the entire spree without so much as a toe ache. At one point I said to Donna, “You know with Janine around I could shop like this all day.” It was the first time that I have ever been able to accomplish a shopping trip with Bri without suffering from a migraine and a week’s long rest at the end of the ordeal.

It was great. The most relaxing prom shopping experience of my life.

The most enjoyable part was not fighting with Bri over every choice for a dress. And, even though she didn’t find anything, I’m still willing to go again next week. In the past at least an entire month had to pass before I would even attempt to go into the fray again. But thanks to the Dynamic Duo of Donna and Janine, I’m ready, willing and able to dive right in.

Not For Nuthin, but I’m putting in a “save the date” to Janine for Bri’s college graduation shopping experience, and Bri hasn’t even started yet. To Janine and Donna, grazie mille. Jdelbuono@cnglocal.com

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